Irish Examiner view: Support for Italy is shameful

Irish Examiner view: Support for Italy is shameful

Critics of the European Union often argue that it operates better in the sunshine than the rain.

In other words, there is solidarity among member states when things are going well but not so much in tough times.

There is a certain truth to all of this, as we in Ireland well know.

At the height of the financial crisis the EU states worst affected, like Greece, Italy and Ireland, were coerced, largely at Germany’s behest, into implementing draconian and, in Ireland’s case, unnecessarily harsh austerity measures.

An EU technocratic elite all but turned Greece into a Third World country, causing untold suffering and deprivation and ignoring not just the economic but the social consequences of imposed austerity.

It was only when these measures were found to be counter-productive that they were eased.

When Covid-19 started spreading rapidly in Italy, the country appealed for help via the Emergency Response Coordination Centre, a special European crisis mechanism.

Not a single EU state responded.

Fearful of its own shortages, Germany initially banned the export of medical masks and other protective gear, stopping trucks at the Swiss border.

Contrast that with the help given by China to Italy, sending plane loads of medicines, intensive care unit equipment and even their own most experienced doctors to help it cope.

Cuba and Russia has also offered to assist, which makes the treatment of Italy within the EU all the more shameful.

    Useful information
  • The HSE have developed an information pack on how to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Read it here
  • Anyone with symptoms of coronavirus who has been in close contact with a confirmed case in the last 14 days should isolate themselves from other people - this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone; phone their GP, or emergency department;
  • GPs Out of Hours services are not in a position to order testing for patients with normal cold and flu-like symptoms. HSELive is an information line and similarly not in a position to order testing for members of the public. The public is asked to reserve 112/999 for medical emergencies at all times.
  • ALONE has launched a national support line and additional supports for older people who have concerns or are facing difficulties relating to the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in Ireland. The support line will be open seven days a week, 8am-8pm, by calling 0818 222 024

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